kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
[personal profile] kindkit
I thought I'd post the results of Project Pizza right away rather than waiting for the next Recipe Friday, partly because I want to note all this while it's fresh in my mind and partly because I thought you might be curious.

My overall reaction is: yum. This makes good pizza, with all the ingredients very flavorful and distinct. I wasn't even using top-of-the-line ingredients, just supermarket-brand canned tomatoes, supermarket-made bulk Italian sausage, and whole milk mozzarella from Trader Joe's. It makes me wonder how poor-quality the ingredients in typical commercial pizza must be.

Anyway, now for my notes.

1) I added two cloves of finely-chopped garlic to the tomatoes (note that I was halving the recipe), which makes for a very garlicky result. Fine with me, as I like garlic.

2) The browned, crumbled, drained bulk sausage worked fine.

3) Drain the tomatoes well. Really really well. I had a bit of a problem, once the pizza was sliced, with tomato juice soaking into the crust.

4) When I was shaping the crust, the dough tended to spring back and it was hard to form the little walls at the edge, even after 2+ rests. This created a further problem, in that while the dough was resting, it was also rising. So when I put it the crust into the oven to blind bake it for 10 minutes, I got OMG oven spring and had to poke the crust lots and lots with a fork to get the inside to lie flat so I could put the toppings on. Next time less yeast (I did use less than the recipe calls for, because of the altitude, but I'll cut it down further next time) and I might try [personal profile] executrix's suggestion of putting some semolina in the dough to make it more cooperative.

5) The crust didn't come out quite as crisp and brown as it should have, even though I ended up baking it for considerably longer than the 25 minutes the recipe suggests. I should have baked it at 450 F (partly because of the altitude, again, and partly because of my oven). Also, next time I'll blind bake the crust in the lower third of the oven as I did today, but then raise the rack to the center for baking the topped pizza so that the top browns better.

6) No doubt I'd get better results with a real pizza pan instead of a springform, because the springform is very thin, which isn't conducive to browning and crispness. Most things you bake in a springform pan, you don't want to brown or develop a crisp crust. On the other hand, using the springform does make it simple to transfer the pizza from the pan to the rack. I'm glad I didn't try to make the pizza in a 9x13 baking pan, which was my original plan before I thought of the springform. I'd never have gotten it out in one piece to cool.

7) I should also mention that I used Asiago-style cheese (from Trader Joe's and quite inexpensive) rather than Parmigiano for the cheese topping. In my case it was a matter of my budget not stretching to Parmigiano right now, but actually I think the Asiago may be a better choice. Parmigiano has subtle, rounded, nuanced flavors that would get lost in a pizza, whereas the Asiago is brasher and more pizza-y. Using Parmigiano-Reggiano here would be a waste of money, I think.

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